by edgeuno tech
Jun, 21, 2023
Last modified on May, 02, 2024 at 03:16 pm

What is an Edge Data Center: 4 Benefits and Why It Is Important

Photo by İsmail Enes Ayhan on Unsplash

Building enormous facilities to accommodate huge amounts of hardware has long been a trend in the data center industry. There were also smaller facilities used by individuals for their own equipment. But now, the emphasis is on more compact, local facilities known as edge data centers.

The interest in edge data centers and the benefits they bring is steadily increasing, and it’s all for a good reason. In comparison to core data centers, edge data centers are smaller, located closer to end customers, and can process data with lower latency. 

In this article we will provide an answer to the questions “What is a data center?” and “What is an edge data center?”, explain the differences between edge vs cloud and regional data centers, talk about the benefits of using an edge data center, and more.

What is a Data Center?

Before we dive deeper into the benefits and importance of edge data centers, let’s answer the question “What is a data center?”

A data center is a facility that uses a complex network, storage, and computing infrastructure to provide shared access to data and applications. There are industry standards to help with designing, building, and maintaining data center infrastructures and facilities to guarantee the data is highly available and safe.

What Is an Edge Data Center?

An edge data center is a decentralized facility with cooling and power infrastructure that offers storage and computing in a location close to where data is being generated or where it is going to be used. This means that an edge data center stores, processes, and analyzes data close to the end user’s location as opposed to sending network traffic to the closest major market to be processed in a cloud or regional data center. 

When it comes to the physical location, edge servers can be set up at a standalone facility or in a variety of different environments, including cable headends, the base of cell towers, telecommunications companies, or on-site in an organization.

Characteristics of an Edge Data Center 

As mentioned before, edge data centers are located close to the end users. Physical proximity to end users guarantees that roundtrip network time is as short as possible. The main objective is to decrease data latency and boost throughput. In addition to proximity, an edge data center has the following key characteristics:

  • Quick processing speed. Besides decreased network latency, edge data centers have fast processing power which ensures that the end users’ requests are quickly completed. 
  • Small size. The same parts that make up a regular data center are also found in edge data centers, but they are housed in a considerably smaller space. The precise size can vary greatly, depending on the application and how close to the user it needs to be to achieve the desired latency.
  • Easy maintenance. Because they are located within an organization’s campus or headquarters, edge data centers are relatively easy to access and maintain.
  • Part of a bigger network. An edge data center is one of many parts of a complex network. There might be a lot of edge data centers spread out over larger geographical regions. There might also be larger data centers where data is disseminated in a hub-and-spoke model.
Data Center Edge vs Cloud

Cloud data centers are large in scale and situated outside of urban areas, where electricity and land are comparatively cheap. The distance between cloud data centers and the end user, which can range from hundreds to thousands of miles, increases the latency at which the data is ultimately delivered. As a result, although cloud data centers may support use cases including website hosting, e-commerce, and mobile and web applications more effectively, edge data centers can suitably service applications with low-latency requirements.

Data Center Edge vs Regional 

An edge data center is situated very close to where data is generated or used. Regional data centers, on the other hand, are frequently situated in bigger urban areas and cover a wider geographic area, which means they are located farther away from the end user. Because of this, regional data centers are better suited to handle less performance-sensitive tasks like storage and analysis, while edge data centers are better suited to supporting applications with low-latency requirements.

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

Benefits of Edge Data Centers

Moving data centers to the edge has four key advantages, which include:

  1. Security. Edge data centers improve security by limiting the quantity of data stored, reducing broader network vulnerabilities, and decreasing the amount of sensitive data transmitted. 
  2. Latency. Edge data centers enable lower latency, which results in substantially quicker response times. Reducing the physical distance that data must travel by placing computation and storage close to the end users minimizes the likelihood of encountering a transmission line with poor data flow.
  3. Operating costs. With less traffic traveling to and from central servers, edge data centers lower the cost of routing and data transmission, which is crucial for high-bandwidth applications. To be more specific, edge data centers reduce the number of necessary interconnection hubs and high-cost circuits required to connect to cloud or regional data centers by bringing storage and computing closer to the point of use. 
  4. Bandwidth. By processing data locally, edge data centers lessen the amount of traffic going to and coming from central servers. As a result, more bandwidth is made accessible across the user’s larger network, which enhances the performance of the entire network.

Why are Edge Data Centers Important?

The rapid growth of IoT and 5G networks have paved the path for the creation of new cloud-based applications in a number of industries. For many of these applications, such as wearable medical devices or self-driving cars, to work successfully for end users, highly quick processing, low latency, and high bandwidth are necessary.

Importance of Edge Data Centers in the Age of IoT

According to Gartner, 45% of all IoT data is currently processed at the edge. Together, IoT and edge computing offer a quicker, more effective method of data collection and processing. Data processing is handled via edge computing in real-time, which decreases network congestion and latency, which results in more efficiency and a more seamless customer experience. Moreover, IoT devices can serve as cloud gateways, enabling even greater data collecting and processing. Edge computing and IoT work together to offer a complete solution for processing and managing data.

Compared to centralized IoT designs, edge computing has a number of benefits, including

reduced latency, a better quality of service (QoS), reduced energy consumption, an ability to ​​deploy software updates on the fly, faster data processing, facilitated data transfer between IoT systems, improved data security, easy scalability, etc. 

Photo by Thomas Jensen on Unsplash

Use Cases of Edge Computing

The top edge computing use cases are listed below:

  • Self-driving vehicles. Transportation can be made safer by using autonomous vehicles, which can gather, interpret, and share data in real time.
  • Wearable medical equipment. Critical patient data gathered by fitness bands and personal health monitoring devices can be instantly accessed by healthcare professionals.
  • Artificial intelligence virtual assistants. The processing workload of household AI virtual assistants is distributed locally for reduced latency data processing and improved performance.
  • Augmented reality. Retail chains are implementing augmented reality (AR) technology, which needs real-time data processing, to improve the in-store shopping experience.
  • Content delivery networks. Content providers can deliver content that has been cached at the edge to end users in as little as one millisecond.
  • Financial organizations. With reduced latency, trading algorithms are executed more quickly, potentially increasing profit for banks and other financial institutions. 
  • Manufacturing. Adding data storage and computation capabilities to industrial IoT devices improves energy efficiency and predictive maintenance.
  • Remote monitoring. Video cameras record large volumes of data that can be gathered and processed locally.

The Bottom Line

Edge data centers have been getting a lot of attention over the past several years due to the numerous benefits they bring, and will likely continue to be a major focus for years to come. 

We hope that this article successfully answered the questions “What is a data center?” and “What is an edge data center?”, and managed to explain their benefits and importance. Building a cost-effective and sustainable edge data center requires working with a supplier like EdgeUno that can provide the services and space you need quickly and efficiently. With EdgeUno’s colocation services, your critical infrastructure is placed in tier III and tier IV locations around Latin America and you get the most densely connected network in the region right to your space. We also eliminate the implementation hassle with support or turnkey services for purchasing, importation, logistics management, edge center equipment rental, as well as storage of equipment and parts thanks to our competent and experienced logistics professionals located throughout the region.

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